Address: Wardon Hill, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 9PW
Phone Number: 01935 83713
Web Site: www.claypigeonraceway.com
Track Length: 815m
Facilities: Toilets, Kart shop and usually a burger van on test and race days.
Weather Forecast: Click here for next 10 days
This web page is intended as a guide to the Clay Pigeon Kart circuit that is used by CLUB 100 for Sprint race days and Endurance race days. The circuit has been used since 1994 by C-100 and has always been a favourite for drivers and staff alike over the years. If the weather is nice, the track and the location are glorious but it's a bit grim when it rains (remember 1996 and 1998!).
Clay Pigeon is one of the most popular circuits on the CLUB 100 calendar and even if you don't find the track to your liking, then the social side to the weekend is not to be missed. With the Endurance race held on the Friday, a lot of the teams and Sprint drivers decide to make a weekend of it and spend at least the night before (or after the races) at the very pleasant town of Dorchester in Dorset (or stay at other local towns close by). As well as the regulars who compete in both events, a few more Endurance racers tend to make a weekend of it and also compete in the Sprint event as well, such is the popularity of this great circuit.
So what makes the circuit so great? Well its fast, open and leads to plenty of great overtaking. The circuit is nice and wide with plenty of run-off areas and it combines lots of fast corners with a few technical hairpins, although these hairpins are not your traditional tight 'hairpins'. The circuit will not disadvantage the heavier drivers as much as circuits such as Rye, Wheels or Bayford due its fast nature and that should enable the Endurance event to be a very open race indeed.
There have been some classic races here over the years. For those with a long history in C-100, the thrilling HW A final battle between Dave Berney and Steve Dart back in 94 (resolved in Berney's favour) was a classic as was the 1996 A LW final finally won by Malc Smith. Marc Craddock and James Winslow were awesome in the wet in 1998, both blitzing the opposition while the 1999 LW A final battle between Adam Selby, Marc Craddock and Luigi Mazza was a thrill to watch. But the one race that stands out most, was the 2000 HW A final that saw 6 drivers fight out an epic race with Mark Terry finally storming through from grid 10 to win the best race of his career.
For the Endurance event, the start line is right in front of the pits but we use the 'other' start / finish line just before the final corner (turn 7, top bend) for the Sprint events so the karts can come straight back into the pits after the race. The pit entrance is just after turn 7 and it is important to warn other drivers that you are coming into the pits by raising your hand and pulling to the left-hand side of the circuit on the approach to turn 7. The pit lane is nice and long and leads itself nicely to getting the races ready in the Sprint event.
It is worth pointing out that Drivers should make sure that they glance to the right when exiting the pits (more relevant in the Endurance) to ensure there is no oncoming traffic at full speed on the main straight! Drivers should also keep to the left-hand side of the circuit when exiting the pits in order that those at full speed on the circuit can drive around them.
CLUB 100 usually change the gearing for this circuit, and this means you will find the karts slightly slower out of the corners but really quick at the end of the long straight, with speeds reaching around 75pmh as you reach the exciting Billys Blind at the end of the main straight. With this in mind, it is important for a sensible approach to racing at this point of the circuit as a big off at this point of the circuit can be rather …….. well, exciting to say the least!
The key to a quick lap is turn 7 that determines your speed down the main straight and it is worth watching the quicker drivers through this corner to work out braking, turn in and accelerating points. Other key corners are turn 2 and the chicane, this latter corner again determining your speed on the second longest straight that is where the most overtaking takes place.
On the rolling up (formation) laps, CLUB 100 use the full circuit for the Endurance and for the first lap upon exiting the pits in the Sprint. There is a cut-through on the exit of turn 5 (Horseshoe) that can be used to catch the pack up and this cut-through is also used in the Sprint event as a mini oval on the top half of the circuit for the remainder of the roll up laps. As always, look for instructions from the officials and ask the drivers doing the track walks for clarity on this issue, although it should be covered in the briefing as well.
In conjunction with the excellent report written below by Paul Hicks, we suggest that you attend the track walks that take place before each Endurance event and in the morning of the Sprint events. This will enable you to get an even more detailed analysis of where to position the Kart on the circuit, brake and accelerate as well as understanding the key overtaking places on the circuit.
A Lap Around Clay Pigeon (by Paul Hicks)
The following is a corner by corner account of the correct way to tackle Clay Pigeon in the eyes of CLUB 100 Heavyweight driver, Paul Hicks.
"Welcome to a lap of Clay Pigeon. The track itself is one of the easiest to pickup, and is very quick, but it can very difficult to find the last couple of tenths to be a race winner. Below is a guide that I hope will help you find your way round the track and be competitive."
Billy's blind is a very fast downhill left, which is a nice wide-open first bend. Approach during practice flat with no need for brakes from the far right of the track for a perfect line, but during racing a more central line is required to prevent being overtaken. Turn in late to be near to the kerb at the apex. The kart will be thrown wide as you run through the bend. Try to control this so that you leave the bend about mid point of the track.
"Billy's is a bend in which overtaking is possible from the long sweeping downhill straight before reaching the kerb, if you get better drive form the previous corner. It is safer to get into position for the next corner, which is one of the best overtaking spots on the track."
From the fast downhill sweep of Billy's, move across to the left-hand side of the track for a hard brake. Billy's blind is the fastest point that a club 100 kart will travel all year into a medium speed double right-hander. The breaking point for this bend is just before the surface change. Turn in holding off the kerbs as they upset the kart, keep the kart within a kart's width of the inside as you power round to a mid-curve apex. The final exit is wide ready for turn 3.
"This is one of those bends that you need to concentrate all the way round as overtaking is available on the entry and halfway through the corner if an entry error occurs. A common mistake is to brake late and sail past the apex leaving the door open to be retaken whilst heading for the next corner."
The next bend is now taken almost flat as so much speed is scrubbed off at the previous corner. Approaching from full left, you will hit a slight bump, if taken correctly this set's you up for a good run through this quick right / left hander. It is important to try and straight line between the right and left kerbs as the exit is critical. Try to be controlled on the power and do not run the kerbs as very are very vicious and will cause you problems. You must be smooth!!
"This is an important bend as the exit sets you up for sturmey straight and the hairpin, which is the main overtaking point on the track. Taking too much kerb on the exit and running onto the mud is asking to be overtaken into the hairpin. Although this is a small section of the track it could possibly be considered as the most important corner."
After Sturmey straight which is slightly down hill, you need to position the kart on the left hand side of the track, watching for people who have had a better exit from the esses diving up your inside. Just before reaching the marshals post you need to brake very hard before turning in. Turn in following the kerb for the first part of the corner but allow the kart to run the full width of the track on exit to keep exit speed high. Use the kerb on the exit but keep off the grass. Guide the kart from this full left position to run smoothly across to the right for the next bend.
"This bend can be taken fairly quickly as it is cambered and sucks you round. Watch out for people getting the better run through the esses and diving up your inside. If they are up your inside, concede the corner as you will only get involved in an accident and get them back at the next one."
Arguably, the most difficult bend on the circuit. You approach from the full right with a slight dab on the brakes, turning into the kerb at the first apex of this box bend. Exit part one with power on and allow the kart to run to halfway across the track before turning in for part two flat out. Aim slightly off the second kerb where there is a little more grip. When exiting from part two you should not let the kart go wider than half-track as you need to be hard left for the entry to the next bend.
"It is important be very smooth through this box bend to carry speed into the next bend. By staying on the left hand side of the track from the previous bend it is possible to dive up the inside of another drive if you have had a better exit from the hairpin."
This is a conventional 90° right. This bend is approached from the full left and is taken flat out. A standard turn in is needed, running close to the kerb, which is flat at the apex. Do not use the rumble strip on the outside of the track, as it is worn out and very rutted.
"This bend is not a good overtaking point. If you get a better run out of the horseshoe, do not try and pass around the outside at this corner. The natural line for the kart you are trying to pass is to run to the outside of the track leaving you with no space and in the dirt going backwards."
Staying on the left hand side of the track after exiting turn 6, a slight dab on the brakes is needed to settle the kart at the marshals post before turning in just after the arrows on the track. Run round the kerb but not touching it as it upsets the kart getting onto the power halfway through at the join in the track. The fast exit takes you to the left hand side of the circuit making sure you use every bit of the track. Try not to run onto the dirt as it has become rutted over the years and can cause some interesting moments.
"This looks like a very straightforward bend but it is very easy to get wrong. It is very important to get the exit correct or you will not have the speed going into Billy's Blind. It is possible to overtake going into turn 7 if a lesser driver has made a mistake at the Horseshoe or Symonds Grass track but can lead to accidents."
Its now foot down, as hard as you can push the pedal, for the completion of a lap heading back down into Billy's blind, the fastest/"fun-est" down hill kink on the club 100 calendar.
Clay Pigeon is one of the easiest circuits to find. It is located half way between Yeovil and Dorchester on the A37. If you are coming from Yeovil, then it is approximately 9 miles south of the town (Yeovil) at the top of the hill after Holywell Village. The circuit is signposted from the A37 and you have to turn left at the top of the hill (mentioned above), and follow the signs for the circuit. It really is very easy…http://www.club100.co.uk/clay.htm